Finding keywords for your service-based business

show up on google seo

It’s frustrating when your blog posts don’t show up in top Google search results after all the energy you put into writing them. That’s especially true if you’re a sensitive solopreneur who has to take energy into consideration in everything you do. What helps is finding keywords for SEO that you can rank for sooner rather than later. Here, I’ll share a simple way to do that (it’s also free).

Why bother finding keywords for SEO?

In online groups for solopreneurs, I see a lot of posts about visibility and “showing up”. Usually, they refer to having an active social media presence.

But, if you’re a person who becomes easily overwhelmed by social media, you simply don’t want to rely on it to find clients, or you’re not the kind of person who’s naturally a big networker, then it makes sense to try to capture the attention of your ideal potential clients who are ALREADY SEARCHING Google for answers to their problems (or support in reaching their goals).

Finding good keywords for SEO helps you show up in search results so you can organically find new clients without constantly having to be online.

How to find good keywords:

One of the most important steps is choosing SEO keywords that give you a better chance of ranking organically on the first couple pages of search results. Ideally, you’ll aim for top 10 to 20 results, without having to pay for ads.

After all, when’s the last time you scrolled through to page 15 of search results to find what you were looking for?

There are MULTIPLE ways to find good SEO keywords. Some are more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming than others.

I try to keep it simple and focused to avoid overwhelm while also looking beyond the bare minimum.


Here’s a free and simple tool to help you find keywords that are less competitive (and therefore easier to rank for in search results):

THEN:

  • BEFORE you write your next blog post, do an ordinary search (using your Chrome browser) for the main topic you’re considering using for the post.

Useful information will show up that can help you make a decision about WHICH KEYWORD will be best to use for SEO. (see the screenshots below, updated in January 2022)

ubersuggest chrome browser search result screenshot business coach

What to look for when doing keyword research for SEO:

In the screenshot above, you can see that I did a regular Google search using my Chrome browser (on my laptop) for “business coach” (keyword).

In the search results, you can see that ads show up first. And then on the right, you’ll see the Ubersuggest box with information that you will use to make your decision about which keyword to highlight in your post.

Notice that, in addition to the keyword that you searched for, it also shows you related keywords and compares various ranking factors.

Let’s take a look at what it means and what to look for, using a close-up of the Ubersuggest results box to use for your keyword decision-making.

ubersuggest chrome browser result box for business coach

Vol (Monthly search volume):

Is anyone searching with this term? How many?

While you may be inclined to choose a huge search volume, keep in mind that when you are working 1:1 with clients, you don’t actually need huge numbers of people to find your post. You need the ‘right fit’ people (niche) to find it, and then your job is to focus on high connection and conversion.

So choose a keyword that will resonate most for your ideal client AND has decent search volume (even if that’s in the 300-500 range, because they will be easier to rank for).

Using keywords that have super low (or zero) search volume may defeat the purpose (if your intent is to reach a cold audience). It is more complicated than this, but my goal is to simplify the process for you.

Overall, it’s ok to include a mix when it comes to choosing keywords based on volume when you start (some higher, some lower), especially if you are already quite niched. Don’t allow this to paralyze you from posting. Test a few, jot them down for comparison, and leave it at that.

In this example, “business coach” currently has 8100 average monthly searches. You can see that some related keywords have fewer searches. And there will be times when some related keywords have a higher search volume than the word you originally looked up.

These related keywords are where you’ll find GOLD! It’s not uncommon that your first idea is unrealistic. Thankfully, often one of the related keywords WILL WORK for your topic idea AND your niche AND be more likely to get you showing up in search results without having to waste more time researching.

CPC (cost per click):

You’re not going to pay for advertising at this point, but if you were going to, this is the price it would cost per click (CPC).

If the cost is higher, it means somebody believes it is worth it in terms of their return on investment. So you might want to try to rank for that keyword too (but organically).

In this example, “business coach” currently costs $12.19. As above, some cost more, some less.

SD (search difficulty):

If you don’t want to pay to show up in search results using this keyword, choose one that has a search difficulty below 35 if possible. The lower, the better (in combination with the other factors).

In general, the higher the SD, the more difficult it will be for you to rank organically for the keyword/keyphrase.

In this example, “business coach” currently has a search difficulty of 63, making it quite competitive. Realistically, more established businesses with higher domain authorities than you will show up in top search results for a high SD keyword like this.

Looking back at the search results, after the ads, Hubspot has the top organic spot for “business coach”, followed by Forbes. And this is why keyword research is so valuable.

As a solopreneur with a new(ish) website, it’s really hard to compete for top results. We have a better chance when we get strategic and stay open to using related keywords that will usually be more specific and therefore have less search volume.

How to decide which SEO keyword to use:

Using this process, you can quickly test out a few different versions of the SEO keyword you’re considering using in your blog post. Choose the one that will work BEST for both SEO and your ideal clients.

Keeping in mind what your ideal potential client would be searching for, look for keywords with an ideal combination of:

  • enough Volume to indicate that people are searching
  • higher CPC
  • lower SD


Prioritize VOLUME and SEARCH DIFFICULTY in your decision-making for now.

The CPC can be viewed as a ‘bonus’ at this point in your SEO journey.

Using this process to choose a good keyword with our example:

I personally would NOT choose to use “business coach” as a focus keyword for my blog post. I could include it in the post, but ideally, not as the main keyword that I’m trying to rank for.

Why?

  • Yes, my cold audience could be searching using the keyword.
  • Volume is great.
  • There is a CPC indicating perceived value.
  • BUT SD is too high, suggesting to me that it would NOT be easy to rank for anytime soon.

It would likely take me too long to be competitive for this keyword given my current situation. Therefore, to show up in Google search results (ideally moving closer to the top 10), I would choose a related keyword (or something else altogether) with a better opportunity to rank. For now.

Update keywords as you gain traction:

After you start getting some traction (ie. more eyeballs on your links showing up in search results and clicks to your website), you can go into your Google Search Console and see what keywords people have actually used to find that specific post. Then, you can update the post to add those exact keywords (if they are a fit).

And, as your own domain authority grows, you can start using more and more of the higher SD keywords because you are becoming more competitive in Google’s eyes.

The bots are always trying to make the best quality match for a search. Keywords aren’t everything in terms of making that match. But choosing ones that you have a chance of showing up for in the top search results will be good for your online business.

Because, the further down the results you are, the more invisible you are to new future clients too (on this platform).

Try finding a good keyword for your next blog post!

We could go into more detail and dive deeper (plus it’s important to note that there is variation in the accuracy of results using different keyword tools). But as a beginner, I suggest that you keep it simple (and free) for now.

It’s better than doing nothing.

Because if you’re taking the time to write new blog posts, you might as well have a chance of them showing up in the first couple pages of search results when your POTENTIAL CLIENTS are looking for answers that you can help them with.

That said, keep in mind that SEO is not a quick fix. Momentum builds over time. So be persistent in finding good keywords that aren’t too competitive and watch how your results improve from month to month.

Up next: Now that you have your KEYWORDS, where do you put them in your next blog post for better SEO?

Do you need MORE SUPPORT with this than you can get in a blog post?

That’s exactly what I do in my 1:1 Blog SEO Mentoring service for sensitive solopreneurs.

Check it out!